Australia is exterminating tens of millions of bees after a varroa mite plague hit the major honey-producing nation. Australia is just the latest honey-producing nation to have a mite plague issue causing significant declines in honey bee populations.
According to authorities, an eradication zone has been set up within a six-mile radius of a sighting. The zone has already led to the death of a significant number of bees as authorities try to prevent the plague that has affected the rest of the world.
“Australia is the only major honey-producing country free from varroa mite,” Satendra Kumar, chief plant protection officer of New South Wales state, told The New York Times. Satendra said that the varroa mite plague could cost the country’s honey industry $70 million a year.
The head of the Australian Honey Bee Industrial Council, Danny Le Feuvre, told The Times that his team has already exterminated 600 hives, with each containing around 30,000 bees meaning 18 million bees have died thus far.
Varroa mites or Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on honey bees. The mite can reproduce only in a honey bee colony and attaches to the body of a bee. It weakens the bee by sucking fat bodies. This impacts their ability to fly, gather food, produce honey, and eventually leads to death. The mite was first found in the port of Newcastle in Australia at the end of June. Honey producers have been in lockdown ever since.
Honey bees are essential to life, and humans could not live without them! Pollinators like bees and butterflies help pollinate 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants. They are responsible for pollinating around 35 percent of the world’s food crops, like fruits and vegetables.
This problem can seem overwhelming, like so many other important issues. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to be part of the solution. One is to not put herbicides or pesticides on your lawn. Even better, replace your lawn with a garden! Check out this article to learn what plants attract bees.
These strategies will help the bees in your area and represent the implementation of strategies created in the White House’s exciting plan, which specifically addresses creating better landscapes for pollinators, including native seed mixes specific to different climates. It will require many people across the country to take action to make this plan a success, so get out there and get planting!
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